How to Relieve Chilblains

Chilblains on a man's hand

Chilblains, also known as pernio or perniosis, is a common cold-weather phenomenon, affecting many people as temperatures drop. These are small, itchy, and painful swellings that typically occur on the skin of the extremities, such as the fingertips, toes, nose, and ears, in response to cold temperatures. This article aims to provide a deep understanding of chilblains, their causes, and their symptoms. We will also share knowledge on how to relieve chilblains.

What are chilblains?

Chilblains on a woman's right knuckles

Chilblains are red, swollen, sometimes itchy patches of skin that occur after exposure to excessively cold, damp conditions. These skin lesions begin as red bumps and later appear purple, often causing discomfort and irritation. Symptoms typically within hours of cold exposure and usually heal over 3 weeks if not exposed again to cold.

See related: What are the different types of skin rashes?

Causes of Chilblains

Chilblains on left foot, white background

Chilblains occur when the blood vessels in the skin narrow in response to cold temperatures, causing a restriction in blood supply. When the skin is subjected to rapid warming, blood leaks into surrounding tissues, resulting in swelling and inflammation, creating chilblains.

Certain risk factors make people more prone to chilblains, such as:

  • Poor circulation. Those with poor blood circulation may be more susceptible to chilblains.
  • Environment. Chilblains are more common in regions with high humidity and cold temperatures.
  • Clothing. Inadequate clothing that doesn’t sufficiently protect the skin from cold increases the risk.
  • Medical history. People with certain medical conditions, like Raynaud’s phenomenon or lupus, are at higher risk.

Managing Chilblains

Hydrocortisone cream and hand with chilblains on wooden surface

While chilblains can be uncomfortable, they usually resolve on their own within a few weeks. In the meantime, these tips on how to relieve chilblains can help manage symptoms and prevent further occurrences.

  1. Keep warm. Prevent chilblains by keeping the body warm, especially when transitioning from cold outdoor environment to a warm indoor setting.
  2. Avoid rapid heating. If you’ve been in the cold, avoid warming up your skin too quickly.
  3. Quit smoking. Smoking can impair your circulation, making you more susceptible to chilblains.
  4. Keep skin moisturized. Use lotion to prevent your skin from drying or cracking.
  5. Healthy eating. Eating a balanced diet can boost your overall health and help improve your circulation.
  6. Regular exercise.  Physical activities can improve circulation in the extremities and help ward off chilblains.

See related: How to treat dry, cracked hands: what you can do

Using Natural Oils to Relieve Chilblains

Front view of CANhaveTODAY's Healing Legends, Waters Mist, and Soothing Juggernaut side by side

Essential oils may help relieve the uncomfortable effects of this condition. Let’s look at some of these oils:

  • Chamomile oil. Chamomile, having anti-inflammatory and skin-soothing properties, could serve to alleviate the inflammation and itching caused by chilblains. Its calming scent also provides an added aromatherapeutic benefit. Make the most of chamomile oil using all CANhaveTODAY salves: Soothing Juggernaut, Healing Legends, and Waters Mist.
  • Arnica oil. Arnica functions as a natural pain reliever with anti-inflammatory properties. This makes it a potentially beneficial choice for reducing the swelling and discomfort linked with chilblains. You can calm your chilblains by harnessing the advantages of arnica oil in the Soothing Juggernaut salve by CANhaveTODAY!
  • Lavender oil. This oil can help control itching, reduce redness, and diminish swelling due to its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory characteristics. Enjoy the perks of lavender oil through CANhaveTODAY’s salves Waters Mist, Healing Legends, and Soothing Juggernaut.
  • Frankincense oil. With properties promoting circulation and reducing inflammation, frankincense oil might be a practical option for managing distressing symptoms of chilblains. Take advantage of frankincense oil in CANhaveTODAY’s Soothing Juggernaut and Healing Legends salves!
  • Cypress oil. Cypress oil’s anti-inflammatory attributes could potentially contribute to reducing swelling. You can reap the rewards of using cypress oil with CANhaveTODAY’s Soothing Juggernaut salve!
  • Tea tree oil. Harboring both anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, tea tree oil could potentially offer relief from itching and protect against infection of chilblains. You may enjoy the benefits of tea tree oil in all CANhaveTODAY salves! Waters Mist, in particular, has the highest amount of this oil among CANhaveTODAY products.
  • Cinnamon oil. Achieving relief from chilblains could be possible with cinnamon oil, known to relieve inflammation and pain. Additionally, it has antibacterial properties that may help prevent chilblains infection. You may gain from the many properties of this oil by using CANhaveTODAY’s Waters Mist.
  • Lemongrass oil. Through sharing its anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antimicrobial properties, lemongrass essential oils can aid in alleviating the symptoms of chilblains. CANhaveTODAY’s Waters Mist also offers the benefits of lemongrass essential oil along with other natural ingredients.

A few reminders

CANhaveTODAY’s formulations include these essential oils, safely diluted and combined with other beneficial oils and natural ingredients. Using these essential oils alone is not an option as they are too strong, so you must dilute them in carrier oils like jojoba oil or sunflower oil. Moreover, when using any new product, performing a patch test on a small area of skin before fully applying the product is good practice. This is to ensure you don’t have any adverse reactions to the product.

Also, while essential oils may offer relief, it’s important to remember that they’re meant to complement rather than substitute traditional treatments. Therefore, it is critical to consult a healthcare provider for persistent or worsening symptoms. A quick note: These products contain Sodium borate. The government of Canada does not recommend the use of products containing Sodium borate on open wounds, cuts, or abrasions.

Proceed with knowledge

Close-up of chilblains on right hand

If chilblains persist or symptoms worsen, medical treatments are available. Doctors can prescribe creams to soothe itching and inflammation or recommend medication to improve circulation in some cases. You must seek medical attention if the area becomes infected, ulcerated, or doesn’t heal.

With these insights and strategies in mind, you can effectively manage and provide relief from chilblains. Take this knowledge and CANhaveTODAY with you in your fight against chilblains!


What are chilblains?

Chilblains, also known as pernio, are small, itchy, and painful swellings that generally occur on the skin after it has been exposed to cold temperatures.

How are chilblains treated?

Chilblains usually heal on their own if further cold exposure is avoided. Your doctor may recommend topical steroid creams or other types of medication for severe cases. Using essential oils with anti-inflammatory and circulation-boosting properties could also help manage the symptoms.

How can I prevent chilblains?

Preventing chilblains largely involves protecting yourself from cold. Keep your hands, feet, and other vulnerable areas warm, especially if you’re in humid and cold weather conditions. Avoid rapid changes from cold to hot environments to allow your skin to gradually adjust to the temperatures.

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